Release #6: Filadelpo Mejia C.O.E. 2017
This stunning, organically produced caturra was awarded 6th place in the 2017 Peru Cup of Excellence (henceforth COE). Being a COE winner is an incredible accomplishment regardless of the year or circumstances. That said, 2017 was a particularly auspicious year for Peruvian specialty coffee as it marked the first ever COE competition to be held in Peru. Passenger was extremely honored to have the opportunity to purchase a small portion this lot, produced by Filadelpo Mejia and his son, Gilmer, on their farm, Finca Ecológica Agua Colorada in Cajamarca, Peru.
Filadelpo’s coffee possesses intense aromatics of raspberry, orange, and dense tropical fruit. In the cup we find an incredible depth of sweetness that is beautifully complemented by berry-like acidity, and an elegantly creamy finish. Revisiting this lot, which originally graced Passenger’s menu in 2018, underlines the fact that it is truly one of the finest Peruvian coffees we have ever had the pleasure of tasting.
The Cup of Excellence competition was started in 1999 by George Howell and Susie Spindler. Its purpose was, and still is to this day, to find the best coffee producers in any given country of production. This is done via a rigorous process of blind analysis, first by a National Jury of roughly a dozen (who, themselves, are rigorously vetted for the honor of being a Cup of Excellence judge), and then by an International Jury comprised of roughly 20 industry professionals from around the globe.
As each lot enters the competition process it is assigned a code known only to the competition auditor. Each lot is cupped (tasted) numerous times. The further along the competition a coffee progresses the greater the number of times it has been blindly evaluated. The top ten lots (as ranked by the International Jury) will have each been cupped at least 120 times!
After the coffees are ranked by the International Jury there is an online auction open to buyers all around the world. The auction serves two purposes. Firstly, it drives the prices of the coffees up. The lion’s share of money garnered via the auction makes its way back to the producer. Secondly, it gives coffee producers more direct market access, connection them directly to buyers and also plugging them into a system where buyers, the world over, know to look for excellent producers/coffees. The Cup of Excellence competition has pioneered integrity and transparency in the coffee industry, ensuring the value of winning coffees.